We were in Hamilton on Good Friday and Easter Saturday for the Easter conference organised by three Reformed/Reformed Baptist churches in Hamilton. The speaker was Dr. Don Carson who serves as Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield Illinois.

Philip and I left home at about 9:15 a.m. on Friday morning with Pastor Alfie Orr and Dave and Glenda Aiken.

Our drive down to Hamilton included a stop at Pokeno for an icecream. At Hamilton, we checked into a motel, had a quick pizza lunch, and reached the conference venue by 1:00 p.m.

Dr. Carson’s addresses on Friday were:

  • 1.00 pm A Passion for the Promises and the People of God (Nehemiah 1-2)
  • 3.30 pm Never, Never, Never Give Up (Nehemiah 3:1-6:14)
  • 7.00 pm A Protected and Spiritually Nourished Pilgrim People (Nehemiah 7-8 )

The hosts were wonderful and we were all well looked after with tea and and a “light” evening meal (a choice between Curried Chicken with Rice and Chilli Con Carne with Corn Chips).

The night was restful. It was our first stay in a motel. (It was a good thing we stayed with the Aikens–I got to know the difference between a dish cloth and a tea towel. I was also informed that the slightly thicker ‘hand towel’ was actually a bath mat.)

After sighting a colourful object in the Hamilton sky,

and having breakfast, we checked out.

Glenda and Dave showed us the large paddle boat in the Waikato river

and the war memorial.

We then went to the Botanical gardens, where Glenda showed me what a fantail looked like.

These are little birds with a high pitched song heard far more and long before they are seen. Although you cannot see it in the picture, the birds are supposed to spread their tails out like a fan.

We took a stroll through the Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and English gardens, before proceeding to the Italian garden, the most elaborate of them all.

The Maori garden, evidenced by a wooden carving at the entrance, has not yet been opened to public

After a quick lunch of sandwiches and cake, we made our way to the conference venue.

Dr. Carson’s addresses on Saturday were:

  • 1.00 pm Repentance and Contrition (Nehemiah 9:1-38)
  • 3.30 pm The Renewal of the Covenant (Nehemiah 9:38-10:39)
  • 7.00 pm The Triumph and Failure of Reformation (Nehemiah 11-13)

In his blog, P.J. Tibayan writes: D. A. Carson is one of my favorite preachers. I listen to him for his depth, his piercing application, his good exegesis, his biblical theological connections, and his centrality on Christ and the gospel. He has written many articles and books that I’ve found edifying and informative.

This is exactly why we went to the conference, and we were not disappointed. (By the way, Tibayan’s blog is a good resource for Carson’s articles and sermons, and other good theological material.)

Of the several meaningful hymns sung during the conference, Philip and I heard a couple of contemporary hymns for the first time. In Christ Alone by Stuart Townsend and To the Praise of His Glorious Grace by Carson himself.

It was comforting to see that so many people, who had come from all over New Zealand, were interested in serious Bible study. In the last session of the conference, Dr. Carson mentioned that revivals come rarely, and if they do, they last for a short time. I wonder if what we are seeing now, is the start of a little revival, maybe even the last little revival before the Lord comes. But revival or not, we must make use of whatever resources we have and work hard, because the time is short.